Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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"I also take my cues from one who may soon be passing from our midst. No matter what the day brings, no matter how hard the news that comes to them this day, they find joy. To honour them, I must rejoice in the day, in the light, in the presence of true heroes. " --Song of Joy, March 13th, 2023
Today, more than ever, I must discover joy, for two weeks after I wrote those words, this person was gathered from us. He was a very private person, this true hero, so I will post a picture of his beloved Land, not his portrait. To really see that scene is to know his spirit. To honour him, I will celebrate life, even when the world seems to be collapsing.
People have asked me if he is Joshua in The Ice Widow. No, he is not, for Joshua is a fictional character, with dreams and hopes of his own. However, the goodness in this person was the inspiration for the character of Joshua. They were both persons of integrity and honour, who loved the Land and their heritage. But each followed a unique path.
There is no happiness in this time, and we shall all "weep until our hearts run dry." (cf. Terrence, The Ice Widow) Yet there is joy: we weep because we love, and because we are loved. My joy today is in the life of this person who, days before his death, said that he was happy, that he had fought it well. And then he asked if I was all right.
"Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing—sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death—can take that love away." Henri Nouwen, Here and Now
Happiness is a spontaneous reaction when good things come our way. Joy is the capacity to affirm life, whatever comes our way.
This person embraced life, whatever came his way. We did not spend that much time together over the years, but still evolved into a "surprising but necessary" friendship.
And that is what I am going to remember.
I see the darkness in both our lives, but I affirm the light.
That is what I am going to celebrate.